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Achillea (millefolium)

Mark E. Majerus
USDA NRCS - Bridger Plant Materials Center
99 South River Road, Rte. 2, Box 1189
Bridger, Montana 59014-9718
(406) 662-3579
(406) 662-3428 (fax)

Family Scientific Name: Asteraceae
Family Common Name: Aster family
Scientific Name: Achillea millefolium
Common Name: Common yarrow
Species Code: ACMI2
Ecotype: See
General Distribution: Circumboreal distribution throughout North America, and in Asia and Europe: plains and mountain valleys.
Propagation Goal: seeds
Propagation Method: seed
ProductType: Propagules (seeds, cuttings, poles, etc.)
Time To Grow: 0
Target Specifications: Harvest yields vary due to weather and age of stand. Average annual production is 82 kg/ha (73 lb/ac).
Propagule Collection: Wildland collection occurs mid August to late September when the white inflorescence has turned almost completely brown and yet has a slight salt-and-pepper appearance. The flat achene is gray with white, narrow, papery wings, and not yet shattering (natural dispersal) from the cyme; easily hand-harvested by cutting the entire seedhead.

One collection hour/person will yield and average 35 grams (1.2 oz) clean seed (ranged 1 to 124 grams and varies by year, stand density, and collector experience).

Cultivated harvest occurs mid July to early August, with a mean harvest date of July 27 at the Bridger Plant Materials Center.
Propagule Processing: Seed Processing: Seed is spread out on a tarp in a dry, sheltered environment and turned daily approximately 3-5 days, until no moisture or warmth is detected. After drying, material is processed with Wintersteiger plot combine at concave closed, speed 700 rpm, and no wind. Seed is threshed with a hammermill through a 4/64" round hold screen, air-screen processed on a Clipper M2B or Eclipse cleaner over a 1-21" round hold screen with low wind, and then over a 6x30 wire mesh screen (0.0203" x 0.1471") to remove very fine debris. Due to tiny seed, abundance of floral chaff, and moderate seed flow, this species is moderately easy to clean. Larger seed lots are processed most efficiently with mechanized cleaning equipment and smaller seed lots usually require more hand labor.
Seeds/Kg: 6,600,000.
Germination: Ranges 88 to 99%.
Purity: 100%.
Pre-Planting Treatments: Seed Treatments: None required.
Growing Area Preparation/
Annual Practices for Perennial Crops:
Propagation Environment: Seedbed is firm and free of weeds with good field moisture to 4" depth.

Seed Propagation Method: Direct seeding.
Establishment Phase: Seeding Date:Spring.

Sowing/Planting technique: 25-30 pure live seed/ft. (0.3 m) row, irrigated 91 cm (36 in) row spacing, seeded with 2-row double-disk planter with depth bands, optimum seeding depth 0.6 cm (0.25 in).

Establishment Phase: Soil surface is kept moist throughout the 14 day germination and emergence period - approximately 3-4 light applications per week (also helps prevent soil crusting).

Fertilizer application is not recommended the first year, as it generally stimulates weed growth and competition.
Length of Establishment Phase: 2 growing seasons.
Active Growth Phase: Rapid Growth Phase: Spring to fall; PlateauT herbicide is recommended for control of broadleaf weeds and application must occur pre-emergence or post-emergence prior to bolting, budding, or bloomset of wildflower crop; soil moisture is critical curing budding stage, after anthesis, and post harvest to pre-freezeup - nor irrigation is applied during flowering (pollination); fertilizer is broadcast at 100 lbs. actual N/40 lbs. actual P/acre in mid-September.
Length of Active Growth Phase: 2 to 3 growing seasons.
Hardening Phase: N.A.
Harvesting, Storage and Shipping: A temporary "diaper" - a heavy piece of plastic or canvas clipped under belt draper - is attached on a John Deer swather for direct catchment to minimize seed loss.

Seed Storage: Seed is placed in plastic ziplock bags (seed is so small it may sneak out of paper containers), repeatedly punctured to prevent moisture buildup, placed in cloth or plastic seed sacks, and stored in a cool, dry environment.

Seed Dormancy: Seed is classified as nondormant.
Length of Storage: <b>Storage Duration:</b> 5-7 years.
Other Comments: Ecotype: 6 different Yellowstone National Park accessions periodically collected and produced from 1992 to 1998. Grassland ecological zones include tufted hairgrass/sedge, Idaho fescue/Richardson's needlegrass, big sagebrush/Idaho fescue, and silver sagebrush/Idaho fescue haditats. Elevations ranges 2,000 m to 2,362 m (6,560 ft. to 7,750 ft.).
References: Flora of the Pacific Northwest, C.L. Hitchcock and A. Cronquist, University of Washington Press, 1973.

Yellowstone Vegetation - Consequences of Environment and History in a Natural Setting, Don G. Despain, Roberts Rinehart Publishers, 1990.

Seeds: Ecology, Biogeography, and Evolution of dormancy and Germination, C.C. Baskin and J.M. Baskin, Academic Press, 2001.


Winslow, Susan R.. 2002. Propagation protocol for production of Propagules (seeds, cuttings, poles, etc.) Achillea millefolium seeds USDA NRCS - Bridger Plant Materials Center Bridger, Montana. In: Native Plant Network. URL: http://NativePlantNetwork.org (accessed 2021/05/08). US Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, National Center for Reforestation, Nurseries, and Genetic Resources.

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